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Heralding the close of the festival season with a splash of colour and no little eccentricity is Bestival. The festival took its name from founder and Radio 1 DJ Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best record label, but it might as well be named after how highly its regulars rate it. At the end of each summer since 2004, Bestival stages a gigantic fancy dress party with a world class soundtrack. This year’s edition takes place from 4th-7th September at Robin Hill on the Isle Of Wight. Outkast, Chic ft. Nile Rodgers, Beck and Foals have been selected to top the bill, which is as colourful and impressive as ever. The theme for the costumes at Bestival 2014? Desert Island Disco. Thanks to Bestival 2014, and perhaps unusually for September, the Isle Of Wight will be a beautiful vision of sun, sand and sea.
Atlanta hip-hop outfit Outkast made waves when announcing their return earlier this year. Their Bestival set is one of this summer’s most eagerly anticipated festival shows. Joining them at the head of the bill are disco legends Chic, who will play with founding member and guitarist Nile Rodgers. Following his work with Daft Punk on ‘Random Access Memories’ in 2013, Rodgers funky guitar lines and billowing dreadlocks have been ubiquitous, and Bestival should prove the ideal arena for Chic’s hip-swivelling tunes. Indie heroes from different generations, Beck and Foals bring maudlin, lackadaisical rock and frenetic, danceable indie respectively.
A glance through the rest of the line-up for Bestival 2014 is mouthwatering. Disclosure, Sam Smith and London Grammar are a trio of young, hungry British acts bending club music in different directions. Disclosure’s history-conscious house, Smith’s bombastic dance-pop and London Grammar’s shivery take on romance will top many must-see lists at Bestival. In the shape of Major Lazer and Busta Rhymes, Bestival has two proven party starters. Dig a little deeper and this year’s bill houses some of the most exciting new independent talent from the UK and America. Starry-eyed folk singer Cate Le Bon, psychedelic dandies Temples, scratchy poppers Childhood and Glasgow rock ‘n’ rollers The Amazing Snakeheads all appear. The USA will be represented by Nicolas Jaar’s Darkside, eccentric pop auteur Tune-yards and Dan Snaith’s chameleon-like dance project Caribou. These acts – along with Chvrches, SBTRKT, Factory Floor, Fat White Family and more – will perform under the pressure of significant hype. They’re all set to deliver and make Bestival 2014 the most memorable instalment of the festival yet.
Since he conceived Bestival in 2004 with his wife Josie, Rob Da Bank has welcomed a vast array of acts including The Chemical Brothers, Beastie Boys, Amy Winehouse, Kraftwerk, The Prodigy, The Cure, Björk, New Order, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Elton John. Bestival has grown immeasurably from the idea that originally started as an offshoot to Da Bank’s Sunday Best Label club nights. It has maintained strong partnerships with various charities since 2004.
While booking such talented artists, Bestival had to differentiate itself from the Isle Of Wight Festival and its traditions dating back to Jimi Hendrix’s legendary performance in 1970. Offering a comparatively more mystical and diverse experience, Bestival is packed with idiosyncrasies and pockets of fun. This idea is represented by the event’s tradition for fancy dress. At Bestival 2010, a Guinness World Record for the most people in fancy dress at one event was set. It is also possible to get married at an inflatable church there.
When roaming around Robin Hill Park dressed for a beach party, you’ll be able to catch all manner of performance, variety and art in amongst the music. For Bestival 2014, infamous TV fitness instructor Mr. Motivator returns to offer a day of classes. Should that give you a taste for exercise; a visit to Reggaerobics could be in order. Films In The Forest and Drag demonstrate the breadth of non-musical goodies on offer and aka Atilla The Pun (UK Pun Champion Darren Walsh) is not to be missed. Thousands of people dressed for a desert island disco, Outkast, Nile Rodgers and Mr. Motivator. Only at Bestival.
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Bestival